Monday, October 27, 2014

Minute by minute

The Baltimore, Maryland area has a few roads that start out in the inner city way downtown and take travelers on a long ride to way out in the country.  Harford Rd, Belair Rd, York Rd - all are known by their final northern destinations, Harford County, Bel Air or York, Pennsylvania.

Falls Rd, MD Rte 25
And then there's Falls Rd, which begins in northern Baltimore County, almost to the Pennsylvania line, and winds up downtown, where it parallels the Jones Falls waterway and the Jones Falls Expressway, known by the two nicknames "The JFX" and "the worst damn highway ever built."  Every day, motorists clog that road to get downtown, and then, from 4 til 6 in the afternoon, they all head home to the suburbs together bumper-to-bumper.

But Falls Road, Maryland Route 25, is what we're talking about today.  On the city end, there is Hampden, home to the coolest urbanites in town, and Mount Washington and a community called Cross Keys, where the visiting baseball clubs used to stay at the Cross Keys Inn when the Orioles played at old Memorial Stadium. Toward the end of the 1985 season, pugnacious Yankee manager Billy Martin was at the hotel bar there and decided to pick a fistfight with one of his pitchers, Ed Whitson, who had 4 inches of height and 40 pounds of weight on the scrawny Martin.  Martin suffered a broken arm, cuts, bruises, and another in a series of firings by lunatic Yankee owner George Steinbrenner.

Farther up the road,  you'll come across little towns such as Brooklandville and Butler, where there is some of the most beautiful fall foliage you'll ever see on display right now.  So there is beauty, and history, and happiness, and sadness along that road.

A few years after high school, a woman who was a year behind our class was driving down Falls Rd, coming home from work as I recall, and she was hit by a stray bullet fired from a gun that some kids were playing with in a vacant lot.  She was pregnant, and she and her baby were both lost.

Tuesday's accident scene
And not far from there, on this week's rainy Tuesday morning, a woman was driving to work at Johns Hopkins Hospital when a tree along the roadway fell suddenly, crushing her fatally within her car.

Two people on a road that runs from packed city to rustic country, minding their own businesses, taken away too soon.  Had they been held up for a few seconds along the road, they would both still likely be among us.  That's something to think about, the next time we're fuming about the slowpoke ahead of us, or the red light that won't change, or whatever holds us up.

t just might be holding us up higher than we know at the time.

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